CARES is today renewing its warning about the risks posed by false steel certification certificates entering the construction supply chain
Despite much greater awareness of the need to double check – and digitally verify – the accuracy of product assurance information, there is worrying evidence that certain elements in the trading and construction supply market are deliberately falsifying information.
Fresh examples of the use of fraudulent ‘certificates’ have been identified following the attempted delivery of reinforcing steel into public sector projects in Georgia. Alert Officials at the Georgian Market Surveillance Agency identified inconsistencies in product certification and alerted CARES.
As a result, CARES was able to intervene and identify not only that the ‘certificates’ supplied as proof of product assurance were false, but investigations have identified the likely source.
CARES General Manager Ayhan Tugrul said it was vital to cut off false data at source as there were “very serious risks” associated with suspect safety critical material being delivered to building sites.
He said: “We are extremely grateful to our colleagues in Georgia for their alertness and diligence in double-checking information associated with this material.
“Thanks to the swift intervention of the public monitoring office we were able to quickly identify that these certificates are false,” he said. “It is a deliberate act to mislead the market for commercial gain, with a reference to an outdated grade, BS 4449 1997 Grade 460B, inserted in documents which do not carry the all-important CARES QR code.”
Mr Tugrul stressed that the “quickest, simplest way to check is by simply downloading the free CARES Cloud App” which provides swift smartphone certainty about product provenance.
“It was clear immediately when we were alerted in this case that the so-called ‘certificate’ did not have a QR code, and it also referenced outdated steel grades.
“If the certificate is not showing a QR code then there are real grounds for concern, and we would urge anyone with doubts about the accuracy of assurance data associated with reinforcing steel products to contact CARES immediately,” added Mr Tugrul.
The rise in the incidence of altered certificates being reported to CARES is as a result of growing pressure to confirm product provenance and a marked pick-up in the move to digitally-led data assurance among a majority of CARES’ approved suppliers globally.